The bizarre world of an upmarket Indian restaurant

20150324_183754Veeraswamy in central London is the oddest restaurant I’ve ever come across – so odd that it’s more an experience than an Indian restaurant. Tucked around a corner in a passageway just off Regent Street, it has no showy front, and never – as far as I know – advertises. You have to know that it’s there. It’s more like a private club than a restaurant. This week, when we went, the door – I won’t say front door, it’s even more discreet than that – was opened with a flourish for us by a doorman as tall as a tree and dressed as a Hungarian hussar. You learn to expect the unexpected as you step into the surreal world that is Veeraswamy. Continue reading

Hypocrisy is not a crime

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Hypocrisy is considered the great evil of our time – but it shouldn’t be

WE ENGLISH excel at hypocrisy, according to Alan Bennett, with our tolerance of library closures, selling off prime parts of London and private education for a lucky few children.

Nobody likes to be called hypocritical. It is possibly the most devastating accusation of our time, to be avoided at all costs. However, Bennett’s swipe at the habit of doing one thing while saying another assumes unquestioningly that hypocrisy is always, by definition, a bad thing.

But such a judgment allows no latitude for nuance of character or circumstance; it’s a sweeping catch-all condemnation, with its intimation of duplicity, falsehood and condescension. It tars those with both good intent and bad with the same brush. Continue reading